Line Of The Night:
Luis Scola – 28 points, 11 boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks
Every single Houston Rocket needs to watch the tape of this game to appreciate what Scola can do. He abused all types of varying USA defender’s, showcasing a vast array of post moves. Give that man the rock, Rick Adelman!
Worst Of The Night:
Clocks in Argentina may still read 11:21 A.M. At roughly that moment, Manu Ginobili – the de facto king of his country – dropped to floor clutching his ankle and the hopes of a nation were dashed. Kids with crushed hoop dreams sobbed, and even the most stone-faced shed a tear. It was enough to make a hard rock cry.
It wasn’t only Argentinians that were upset. USA/Argentina was one of the potential marquee match-ups heading into the 2008 Olympics, so anybody that loved basketball had to be disappointed. Argentina put up a good fight, keeping it within 8-10 for much of the 2nd quarter, but their undermanned squad could not get over that hump, perhaps marking the end of a memorable era in Argentinian hoops. Quite possibly a whole ‘nother type of scenario if Manu had been around for the whole game, though.
13 Shots To The Dome Of The Night:
Carmelo Anthony – 21 points on 13-13 from the FT line, 4 boards, 1 steal, 1 block
While Melo was a horrid 3-14 from the field, including 2-8 from three, he got it done from the other line, looking at least a little bit like the guy that lead the team during Olympic qualifying. Once Melo and the rest of his teammates went back to the lab at the half and figured out it is usually idea to shoot more 2’s than 3’s, especially when you are 6 of 20 from the outside, this game was a wrap.
And even though Mike Breen broke out his over-the-top self-righteous tone to criticize Melo for getting in Andres Nocioni’s face after a hard foul on Dwight Howard, the little skirmish actually seemed to break Team USA out of it’s malaise and get the guys fired up. Game after game a new guy leads Team USA in scoring, which really serves to under score this group’s acceptance of the international team concept.
Conspiracy Theory Of The Night:
Jerry Colangelo runs USA Basketball. His son, Bryan, runs the Toronto Raptors, who were locked into a lengthy insurance/legal battle with Spain’s Jorge Garbajosa after he played injured for Spain’s team against the organizations wishes. Jose Calderon now plays for both the Raptors and Spain’s national team, Team USA’s last obstacle to the gold medal. He was held out of the semi-final game by Toronto’s medical staff due to a partial tear in his abductor muscle.
Hmm… you make the call. Spain pulled out the tough 91-86 win despite Calderon’s absence, as Lithuania’s offense sputtered towards the end. If Calderon is out for the Finals though, it severely hurts their chances.
Eat Your Breakfast Of The Night:
Spain’s Rudy Fernandez had already proven himself to be an athletic, NBA-ready player – just ask Portland, who signed him to a contract this off-season – but who knew he was an on-call chef? When Rudy got word that Simas Jasaitis needed a little nourishment after hitting all those threes, he drove down the right side of the lane and broke out his specialty – breakfast. Have some of these magdalenas and torrijas, Simas! With a cup of cafe con leche!!!
Eat Your Breakfast Part II Of The Night:
Did all the Lithuanians skip the pre-game spread? As it turns out, as the end of the third quarter approached, Lithuania’s Ksistof Lavrinovic was a little hungry too. The ever-accomodating Pau Gasol wasted no time putting in an order with his man Rudy, then BOOSH!!! Try these churros, Ksistof! COMER SU DESAYUNO!!!
Young Moola Of The Night:
Ricky Rubio – 6 boards, 4 assists, 4 points, 1 steal
The line does not look all that impressive, but with Calderon out, Rubio stepped up and led his team to victory. Last round we commented on how wild Double-R was compared to Calderon, but this time around Rubio was the calming force. Back-up Raul Lopez made a lot of raggedy, ill-advised plays, while the young gun got the ball where it needed to be and made several key defensive and hustle plays. That’s not to say he didn’t bring some flare to show – just recall the ridic one-handed, off-the-dribble oop he threw to Gasol with the score close, late. He definitely has some flop in him, too, and an uncanny ability to always get in the way and force the refs to call fouls, ala Sam Cassell. Bottomline, kid has inate instincts for the game, and yes, he’s only 17! Young mooooo-la, baaaa-by!
Breaking news: Jason Kidd misses a shot… FREE LINAS KLEIZA!!!… Any excuse (this time the basketball broadcast intro) to play Juelz Santana’s “The Second Coming” is alright with us… We constantly are thinking the patches on the shirts of NBC’s basketball announcing team are Marlboro logos. How many Marlboro Miles for one of those joints?… Really? The Baltic Pippen? Scottie gets no respect… Snapper Jones is either the most loyal cat in the game, or he’s locked into a Ras Kass-type contract with NBC. He actually sounded forlorn as the Lithuania/Spain game started. Either Bill Walton is like his coffee, or maybe Walton owns dude’s publishing!… Come on Pau, NEVER FOUL THE THREE POINT SHOOTER! Momentum killer at the end of the third right after he had served up the most important meal of the day… Chris Paul had this to say following the game: “Reporters, I’m ill, not sick/And my finish ok but my spin-move sick/Yea my dimes sick/Yea my Jordans sick/And my steals thick/I’m it/A goldie, a goldie, a goldie, a goldie, C-P-3″…